(cf. Luther’s works, Lenker, Gospels #11)
Second Sunday after the Epiphany January 20, 2019
Text: John 2:1-11 CW-ILCW Series C 19:2106
Theme: Lord, Show Us the Importance of Your Presence.
People love to celebrate – birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, etc. The fun, the games, the delicious things to eat, etc. But the nicest thing about celebrations is the people – the guests invited. Being with them makes the day special.
You might say God made it that way. He made us as social creatures. At the very beginning He said, “It is not good that man should be alone” (Gn.2). He created us as social beings.
As a true man the Lord Jesus was the same. He had family, companions, disciples, friends with whom He enjoyed fellowship. And they were of all different kinds – wealthy people, poor people, educated people, fishermen – important people, ordinary ones, plain folk like you and me. He liked to be with them, talk to them, point the way to His heavenly Father to them. For 30 years, before the time of His public ministry began at His baptism, He was around people. Don’t you wonder sometimes what those years were like? Scripture tells us very little. Yet, it makes clear: “He grew in wisdom and stature and favor with God and people”(Lk.2).
Did they realize who He was? After all, He was the perfect child and adult, totally obedient, totally respectful, totally in line with God’s will and ways and wisdom. He was the most prodigious person ever. Did people realize who He was? His parents should have for there were many extraordinary revelations to which they were witnesses. Mary kept them all, pondering them in her heart. But for 30 years the full extent of His person went unnoticed.
Then one day, not too long after His baptism and the great revelations from heaven that took place then, there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee. Distinguished guests were present. Mary, the mother of our Lord was there, too, quite possibly as a relative or close friend of the bride and groom for she seems to have played a role in the banquet. But the most illustrious and helpful guest there that day was the Lord Jesus, who came to be with people. He was invited, He came, and His presence proved a great blessing.
His presence among people always makes a vast difference. If He were fully invited into every marriage, His presence would so bless the husband/wife relationship that there would be no need. If He were fully taken into every home, His presence would so bless the family that there would be complete harmony. If He were fully taken into every heart, His presence would so bless that life with comfort, confidence, and guidance that there would never be any alarm. His presence always proves a great blessing and makes a vast difference. Look what happened here at this home in Cana.
(I. That we might see the timing of Your ways.)
Cana was a very small place, just a dot on the map of Palestine. It lay to the north and west of Nazareth, about 10 miles. Have you ever noticed that big events often happen in small places? Jesus was born in the little town of Bethlehem. He grew up in a carpenter’s shop in Nazareth. He was baptized in a deserted area of Israel near the Dead Sea. Big events often happen in small places. And this obscure little town of Cana was about to become the sight of the most famous wedding celebration ever held.
But that is the way it should be, for the Holy Spirit wants to direct our attention to the wedding’s most memorable guest, our Lord Jesus. When He is around no one or nothing, not even a bride or groom on their wedding day, should rise to the forefront. The Lord Jesus should.
In a sense this was His coming out time as the Savior. In this little town something big was about to happen. The Lord Jesus would reveal His glory as the Son of God in His first miracle.
According to our way of thinking, we might expect that such an important event would take place with a great deal of splash and publicity. This would change the world; this would affect people of all time; this would begin the march to eternity for us. The beginning of such an event ought to burst with excitement and expectation. It ought to shout, “The Savior is here! The Savior is here!” At least that’s the way we would see it.
Mary might have seen it that way, too. For when she gazed at the crowd, saw the impending problem with the wine, and looked upon her son, she thought, “What a good time to catch everyone’s attention!” So, she went to Jesus and presumed to tell Him the problem, “They have no more wine.”
Was it a compassionate petition for help so that the young married couple could be spared the embarrassment of running out of supplies for their guests? Was it a humble petition of confidence in her son’s ability and desire to fix a problem? Was it her thought that as Mother she should inform Him of that which needed to be done? Whatever motivated her to ask, Jesus’ response reveals that Mary’s intentions did not take account of the things and ways of God. “Woman,” He responds, “what have I and you to do with each other? My hour has not come yet.”
Mary didn’t see His ways. She was rushing Jesus. She was His human mother, but it was out of place for her to take the part of His heavenly Father. Although there is no higher authority on earth than that of father and mother, still this ends when God’s Word and work begin. In divine things neither father nor mother nor any other person may interfere, only God’s Word is to teach and guide
This was not the mother-child relationship in the carpenter shop of Nazareth any longer. Christ was on His divine mission, being anointed with the Holy Spirit and power at His baptism. The timing of Jesus’ first miracle and His subsequent ministry was not hers to call. That would be decided by higher Authority which perfectly plans such things according to divine understanding and will.
God’s timetable will not be altered, nor should we want it to be. And God forbid should we ever demand it. Such a show of impatience in us reflects doubt in God’s wisdom and providence and reveals a desire to dislodge Him from the driver’s seat in life.
The answer to our prayers, the lifting of a burden, the deliverance from a sorrow, or the granting of a desire, they are scheduled for fulfillment not according to the clocks and calendars on our kitchen walls, but according to the time set in our Father’s house above. He is with us and knows best when to go about things. For that reason, the Psalmists write, “My times are in your hands, O Lord.” And again, “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him” (Ps.31:15f;37:7).
We need to think deeply what it means when we pray, “Thy will be done.” We have been conditioned by the world in which we live to be impatient with almost everything. Fast food, instant communications, immediate service. But shall we rush God?
If the Creator sent His Son into this world when the time was right (Ga.4:4), He has timed everything perfectly for our benefit. Just as Christ died on the cross for our sin at just the right time, so He will carry everything out at the right time for our eternal good.
So, as His dearly loved people for whom He gave His life, we are quick to pray: Lord, Show Us the Importance of Your Presence, I. that we might see the timing of Your ways, II. and trust in You completely, for You never come too late with too little nor too soon with too much. You come on time to relieve the need and draw us to faith in You.
Nearby stood 6 stone water jars used for the ceremonial washings of the Jews. Each of them held 20-30 gallons. The Lord Jesus ordered the servants to fill them to the brim, no room for anything more so that the genuineness of this miracle could not be questioned. In went water; out came wine, the best tasting wine. That’s quantity and quality because Jesus made it so.
Here is reason to trust Him completely. He can turn simple water into exquisite wine in an instant. Miraculous! But the most important miracle that day was not to be found in the jars filled with wine. It was found in the winemaker Himself and in the greater news that our God came into this world as one with us to proclaim to the world forgiveness and salvation in Him.
He who rescued a wedding in Cana from disaster and helps you in any situation in life, He came to save a world from sin. And just as He changed water into wine, so He has changed us from God’s enemies into His people. We, who were once dead in sin have been raised to life in Him. He has changed us from people without a godly purpose into a people equipped with the miraculous message of eternal life for the purpose of declaring that Gospel to the world. Changed by Him through faith in Him! That’s the greater importance of His presence in our lives.
To that end we pray: Lord Jesus, Show Us the Importance of Your Presence, so that we see the timing of Your ways and trust in You completely. God grant it in our lives for Jesus’ sake. Amen.